Posted on Mar 9, 1995 in Formal Opinions

Opinion Letter No. 95-05
March 9, 1995
Requirement to Protect from Disclosure If Required by State or Federal Law

[NOTE:  This opinion was overruled by OIP Op. Ltr. No. 95-17.]

[Please note that opinions discussing the deliberative process privilege have been materially affected by the Hawaii Supreme Court’s majority opinion in Peer News LLC v. City and County of Honolulu, 143 Haw. 472 (Dec. 21, 2018).]

The UIPA does not require the disclosure of records which state or federal law protect from disclosure under section 92F-13(4), Hawaii Revised Statutes. Section 396-14, Hawaii Revised Statutes, of the State’s occupational safety and health law, provides certain records and reports created by the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (“DOSH”), regarding the administration and enforcement of occupational safety and health laws, cannot be used as evidence or as discovery in civil actions growing out of any matter mentioned in the record, determination, statement, or report.

The language of section 396-14, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is intended to protect against the admission in evidence or the discovery of the identities of individuals who provide information to DOSH in connection with its enforcement of the State’s occupational safety and health law. Because this information would not be discoverable during civil actions, the general public is similarly barred access to this information. Instead, DOSH may disclose the records after it removes all references to information which might result in the likelihood of the actual identification of individuals who furnished DOSH with information. DOSH may also withhold information from other records which fall within disclosure exceptions in section 92F-13, Hawaii Revised Statutes.

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